PLATTSBURGH — An arbitrator has awarded former City of Plattsburgh Fire Chief James Squires payment for unused sick and vacation time but denied a claim for compensation pay.

Squires, a 38-year member of the Fire Department who retired in October 2007 after 15 years as chief, was seeking about $115,000 from the city.

The payment would cover unused vacation and sick time that he had accrued as well as longevity pay for years of service.

It also included $21,486 in what Squires claimed was compensation time for working more than 40 hours per week.

The arbitrator agreed with Squires’s claim for the unused sick and vacation time and the longevity time, with interest, but rejected the comp-time claim.

The arbitrator also corrected Squires’s claim for longevity pay, which was miscalculated, according to City Chamberlain Richard Marks.

Final calculations show Squires was awarded about $73,045 from the city.

“I am satisfied with this and happy it is over,” he said Tuesday.

“All I did was go after what the Level 1 contract for managers provided.”

Compensation time was disallowed by the Common Council in 1980.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak, who took office Jan. 1, 2007, said the city withheld Squires’s payments upon his retirement because of his comp-time claim.

“We pursued this case because of the comp time he was seeking,” the mayor said.

“We felt it was in the best interests of the taxpayers to pursue this case because I find it hard to believe that this former employee or any other employee would attempt to seek comp time when they knew it was not allowed.”

Squires said he was concerned about his sick and vacation time and longevity pay, not the compensation time.

“I got what I wanted,” he said.

The mayor said the city spent only about half of the compensation amount of $21,486 on legal fees for the case.

“This sends a clear message, and we will let the residents of this community decide whether to fight this claim by Mr. Squires was successful or not.”

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